For Chinese citizens following President Hu Jintao’s visit to the U.S., the message from Communist Party propaganda czars is loud and clear: The world’s dominant power is finally treating China as an equal, and Mr. Hu, who steps down as party chief next year, is the man to thank.
State-controlled media have gone into overdrive to portray the visit as a resounding success and the start of a new era of bilateral relations, based on “mutual respect and mutual benefit,” while Internet censors have scrubbed clean chat rooms and blogs of almost all comments that might suggest otherwise.
One forum set up on 163.com—one of China’s leading news portals—to discuss Mr. Hu’s visit showed 248,555 participants as of Sunday evening, but only 19,936 comments were visible, suggesting tens of thousands had been deleted. The comments that remained were overwhelmingly positive.
The only online commentary allowed to stray from the official party line was widespread praise from nationalist bloggers for Lang Lang, the China-born pianist who played a tune from a famous anti-U.S. Chinese film about the Korean War during the White House state banquet.